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Friday, 29 March 2013

Assassin's Creed 3 Review

 Assassin’s Creed.  It’s a captivating series that has been drawn out over numerous games. Sadly the fifth instalment is quite a letdown. With a tiresome and dull main protagonist, frustrating tree climbing mechanics and another slow attempt to continue Desmond’s main storyline, Assassins Creed 3 struck well below expectations for this great series.

Beginning in a short and succinct cut scene to fill in the back story, excellent graphics and integration pieces together the story so far. The gist of the Assassin’s Creed storyline is about saving the world from a largely unexplained threat, whilst ensuring freedom for all. The age old enemy the Templar’s vaguely seek the same goal, but believe to ensure peace the world must be ruled with an iron fist. Soldiering through the initial opening sequence and levels brings forth what this does best: the action and combat. These certainly did not disappoint me, many a sword swipes was blocked, enemy disarmed and musket fire dodged.   
The more of the game that is played the more you grow to like the characters and storyline. Haytham Kenway for example is certainly an entertaining character and as you explore further into the game there are some interesting plot twists that prove the competence of Ubisoft’s writers. But when the majority of the game is reached with gameplay as Conner, he proved to be an unemotional, detached and unlikable character; his irritating decisions infuriates at every turn. Although you can manage to endure Conner enough to thoroughly enjoy the finer aspects of the game, his personality is certainly a downer. 

The combat and control mechanics were slightly changed from previous titles, with adjustments to the sprint and counter system. This took a while to get used to, but added the requirement of more timing and finesse to successfully take out an opponent. The addition of pistols and muskets added further difficulty creating enjoyable fight progression as you take down bad guy after bad guy; in style. There were huge improvements to so many aspects of the free running world, with a huge expanse of land called the Frontier, which is 1.5x bigger than Rome in brotherhood and another 2 cities to explore, there is huge potential for fun. Being a largely unpopulated area, there is little opportunity for the awesome free-running experience offered by buildings. Although Ubisoft have tried to cover it up with a tree-climbing mechanic, the system still needs a lot of work and is frustrating at times. It still holds the possibility for awesomeness though with the introduction of the rope dart, which can be used to hang, stab and trip others.

As you pass further through the game you are introduced to the homestead, essentially a hub for you and all your allies. Here you can engage in fun and exciting homestead missions, or launch off in your very own ship, the Aquila. At the ships store you can spend some of your otherwise useless money on upgrades, than embark on missions that seriously improve this game. Whether you are chasing down Templar ships or clearing out a pirate vanguard, naval warfare is downright amazing. Managing the speed of your ship, navigating through fields of jagged rocks and firing broadsides at your enemies makes an amazing experience. Although lacking in a full campaign of missions, there is a good variety of escort, fort assault and sea battle tasks.

The environment and lore of this game is expansive, a history book in itself. You might spend hours engulfed in the database, intrigued by its secrets. The rich historical record is accompanied by an extremely detailed replica of Northern America’s cities and frontier; the expanse and detail of the world can captivate anyone. It is also possible to exploit its rich wildlife with the hunting system, setting traps and using your bow you are able to hunt down deer, rabbits and other animals. This detailed world of full of wonder and fun is what makes assassin’s creed games great, unlike the many other games full of mindless killing, you have meaning and purpose.

The multiplayer, although having existed in previous titles is still a relatively new and exciting part of the game, offering seven individual game modes, several playable characters and multiple abilities to use. After some quick games I slowly picked up how to play and it established itself as an important part of AC 3. The wanted game mode for example shows the amount of skill required to fully utilize the combat system. One player skulks around, hiding in groups of people, whilst the hunter follows silently preparing to strike. This can prove to be exciting and intense if played correctly, but can be frustrating and wearisome at times as well.

Assassins Creed 3 is a great game, glitch and bug ridden, but still a great game. Whether  sneaking up behind unsuspecting soldiers, running across precarious rooftops or taking in the beautiful landscape, it’s loaded with fun. It may be a step down from the pioneering precursors, with repetitive tasks and little variety in assassination, but Assassins creed 3 still shines through as an superb game, which gives it an overall score of 7/10.

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